Mountains May Depart (Shan He Guren)
Director: Jia Zhangke
Cast: Zhao Tao, Zijan Dong, Sylvia Chang, Jing Dong Liang
Gere: Drama, Romance
Language: English, Cantonese, Mandarin with English subtitles
Country of Origin: China-France-Japan 2015 131 mins. (12A)
Released by Arrow Films
Jia Zhangke's 8th feature, an ambitious and astute view of a changing world spans three periods 1999, 2014 and 2025.
New Years Eve,1999 the Pet Shop Boys' 1993 cover of 'Go West,' blasts out and Shen Tao (Tao Zhao) and others forms a congaline in heady festive mood. China's grasp on capitalism is on the up and cars, mobile phones and music, symbols of western culture are the must haves of the upwardly mobile. Shen Tao's the focal point of Zhangke's epic story and she has to choose between two suitors, a coal miner Liang (Laing Jingdong) and the ambitious entrepreneur Jingsheng (Zhang Yi) with his flashy new car. Tao chooses Jingsheng, has a son 'Dollar,' but happiness is short lived and they divorce. Move onto 2014 and the realities of life have left their mark. Divorce, the loss of her son and the death of Tao's beloved father have affected the once happy, easy going, bubbly Tao. Work in the mines have left Laing in poor health, penniless and desperate.
In the third act, Jingsheng has settled in Australia but the rewards of middle class success haven't brought happiness, 19-year-old Dollar, the hope for the future no longer speaks Chinese, has forgotten his mother and his origins and is at odds with his father.
An ambitious, confident and powerful view of economic inequality and how Chinese capitalism has changed the face of the country. Tao Zhao, at the heart of this epic story gives a brilliant performance but unfortunately is absent from the third and weakest part.